Saturday, March 22, 2014

These Unusual Steiff Pandys Are Really Quite Dandy!

Ok, Steiffgal confesses - she is indeed pandering to her reader's love of exotic Steiff collectibles in this week's blog post. Here we have two wonderful critters that sort of look like a mashup between a raccoon, fox, and panda bear! And maybe a little cat in the mix, too...?  But indeed, they do represent a real species - and they were in the Steiff line for a real-ly short time! Can you guess the identity behind these beautiful beasts?  

These standing sweeties are none other than Steiff's Pandy Indischer Pandas or Pandy Indian Pandas. Both are standing on all fours, head jointed, and made from mohair. Their limbs, backs of their ears, and their undercarriages are black. Their backs, faces, and tails are coppery mohair. And their muzzles, inside ears, and "sideburn" areas are tan mohair. Their tails are airbrushed with brown stripes, sort of like a raccoon. Pandy's face is brought to life with brown and black pupil eyes; a black hand embroidered nose and mouth; clear monofilament whiskers; and gentle brown airbrushing for definition. Pandy was produced overall in 10, 17, and 25 cm from 1963 through 1964.  

Pandy was also produced in a 50 cm riding version on wheels in 1963 only. This model is extremely rare; Steiffgal has never seen this "Pandy on the go" in real life.
 

As a footnote, it interesting to note that the 14 and 25 cm Pandys had small felt claws on each of their four limbs. This is a relatively unusual design treatment for Steiff bears. Steiffgal can only think of two other vintage Steiff bear designs with this similar detail, and both are from the same general time frame as Pandy. They include Zooby, the Zoo Bear, who appeared in 28 cm from 1964 through 1966, and a white dralon bear named Cosy Teddy who appeared in 28 cm in 1964 only.  Of course, felt claws can be seen on Steiff's beloved turtles and crocodiles from the late 1950's through 1970's time frame.

So, is an Indian Panda truly a rare bear?  Well, maybe.  This species - which average the size of a large house cat - is extremely hard to classify, and has been thought to be a relative of giant pandas, as well as raccoons.  Today, they are considered members of their own unique family—the Ailuridae.  They are generally nocturnal, spend much of their time in trees, and live in the mountains of Nepal and northern Myanmar (Burma), as well as in central China.  Unfortunately, today Indian pandas are endangered, mostly because of deforestation, as logging and agriculture take over their natural habitat.

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on Steiff's unusual and rare Indian Pandas has been an exotic treat for you.

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